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IMA Volunteerism: Think Big and Be Bigger

By Brian Neale, CMA, CPA
October 1, 2018
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My mentors at General Mills have always told me that the most gratifying and energizing moment as a leader is to see your people succeed. It’s true. It’s the reason I invest my time in developing my employees through personalized, experiential leadership opportunities and encouraging students I recruit to pursue their dreams. My passions, goals, and moral principles have all been influenced by lifelong mentoring I’ve received, and I’m motivated to extend to others the developmental impact that my mentors have had on me. Impacting the growth of others is exciting, inspiring, and contributes to the advancement of individuals, organizations, and communities.

 

The General Mills leaders who recruited and hired me continue to mentor, inspire, and challenge me. As I reflect on my professional experiences, I believe that my greatest accomplishments aren’t related to business results but are centered on developing my employees and truly improving lives. I’m proud to say that I have grown into that role of mentor, coach, and inspirer and that the coaching sessions I lead are certain to conclude with the challenge to others to do big things.

 

IMA® has afforded me invaluable opportunities to support the advancement of the management accounting profession. I earned my CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification and tell others how it can enhance their careers. As a member of the IMA Global Board of Directors, I can practice volunteerism by attending meetings to drive strategy, by providing thought leadership on a technical topic, and by investing time in the future leaders of the management accounting profession. The latter is what gives me the most energy as an IMA Board member.

 

I’ve made my strongest connections through IMA by interacting with students at IMA’s Student Leadership Conference (SLC) and young professionals at Global Board meetings. The SLC attracts students who have opted into management accounting and exhibit many characteristics that future leaders exemplify. Grit, coachability, and genuine curiosity are some of the key traits that set these students apart. By way of formal presentation, informal conversation, or in an interview, I have connected deeply with many of them and have had the privilege of providing professional coaching and career development counsel. Much like the SLC students, the young professionals are eager to learn about management accounting careers and what it takes to advance their career and the profession. As a Global Board member, it’s my duty to engage and uniquely connect with all young professionals attending the meetings. Again, as with the SLC students, I have built rewarding relationships with many of them.

 

The best moments I’ve had with IMA volunteering have been when I’ve had students or young professionals appreciate and value my counsel. I share the advice my mentors still give me: “Think Big and Be Bigger.” SF

Brian Neale, CMA, CPA, is senior finance manager at General Mills in Minneapolis, Minn., and is a member of the IMA Global Board of Directors. You can reach him at nealebri@gmail.com.
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